Dear Uptight Seattleite, How can I get better customer service from Qwest?Downer DSL Don
Dear Don, Call their service number and hang up immediately. Their computer system will then automatically bump you up to a higher class of service person. The more you repeat, the higher the position of the person you reach. Five times for the shift supervisor, 10 for the facility manager. This really works—try it! Dear Uptight Seattleite, Which neighborhood art walk is best?Art Busby
Dear Art, You mean the best outside of the main one in Pioneer Square? If you ask me, they're all good. When it comes to art, I'm one of those I-know-what-I-like guys, and I know I like wandering on a spring evening down a street of quirky businesses, each one dotted with plastic cups of free wine. For those who like to engage in egocentric argumentationalism, though, I suppose First Fridays in Fremont might have the most cachet, followed by Second Saturdays in Ballard. Of course no one with any real knowledge of the city would overlook Greenwood's Art Walk. They only have it once a year, so catch it like a rare comet the next time it comes around. This year I was particularly pleased to see so many brave artist voices raised against war. There was a simple woodcut at a coffee shop I remember that had a gun with a big X over it and the words, "War? No!" This full-throated resistance found its echo in the strongly worded bumper stickers I saw along the route. "Freedom of Speech means the Freedom to Disagree," said one. That will surely stop any jingoist in their tracks with the power of pure nuance. The only slightly sour note for me was the overly solicitous behavior I witnessed on the part of some women toward the firefighters at Station 14 who were hosting an open house. To be taken in by their broad shoulders, dazzling smiles, and kindness to children—well, I was frankly a little shocked that women would be willing to so casually betray their long struggle against traditional roles. Did they even bother to check these firefighters' voting records before talking to them? Dear Uptight Seattleite, How do seaplanes keep from splitting open kayakers when they land on Lake Union?Anxious Albert
Dear Albert, I have no idea. I always expect something horrible to happen when those things buzz over my Prius on the Ship Canal Bridge. We should probably have a meeting about this. Dear Uptight Seattleite, How come people keep their bicycle helmets on when they're on the bus or in the grocery store? They look like dorks.Curious Cordelia
Dear Cordelia, I won't be so presumptuous as to speak for my fellow cyclists, for we are as diverse as the bikes we ride. There are the lean young people with their fixed-gear bikes, for example. Not my cup of chain lube, but I don't judge, even if this crowd does seem to value style over the serious business of saving the earth. Competitive bikers, on the other hand, have plenty of seriousness as they go zipping by me on the Burke-Gilman in tight formations of matching spandex. Are they impelled by some testosterone frenzy to make a contest out of an activity that might more profitably be enjoyed in a spirit of fellowship? It's not my place to say. I do like to kid them, though. I say "Hey guys, where's the fire?" or "Wait, don't tell me—white sale at Kmart?" I like to think that I'm giving them a little material for reflection, even if they become tiny dots disappearing over the horizon by the time I finish my sentence. Then, of course, there are the weekend riders on their thick-framed mountain bikes. I always try to encourage these newbies when I see them. "Consider a lower gear for this incline!" I'll call out as I chug past on my recumbent. As for your sense of irritation when you witness post-dismount helmet wearing, I suggest you think of this feeling as an invitation and an affectionate rebuke. For why are you driving and not biking? Come on and join the fun. Dear Uptight Seattleite, I miss the Cloud Room.Sentimental Lush
Dear Lush, I wish I could tell you that this is one of those things that hurts less with time. But I can't. Because it isn't. It's one of those things that hurts more. Remember the elevator button shaped like a cloud that took you there? Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.